University of Windsor | Windsor, Ont. | March 14-16

2014 ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS women's basketball Final 8

2012 CIS women’s basketball championship preview: No. 1 Cougars, Canada West hope to reclaim Bronze Baby

OTTAWA (CIS) – When the Windsor Lancers triumphed on home court a year ago, they not only captured the first Bronze Baby Trophy in school history, they also put an end to a 19-year Canada West domination of CIS women’s basketball. If they are to repeat as national champions this weekend, the Lancers will have to do so in Canada West territory, with no less than four Western teams leading one of the deepest fields in recent memory.

The 41st CIS women’s hoops championship is set to kick off Saturday at the Jack Simpson Gym on the campus of the University of Calgary. The eight-team competition concludes on Monday with the gold medal final at 7 p.m. Mountain (9 p.m. ET).

Shaw TV and NBA TV Canada will carry the two Sunday semifinal games live. Shaw TV will also carry the final live, while NBA TV Canada will broadcast the game on a two-hour tape delay. SSN Canada will have live webcasts of all 11 contests, including the main and consolation brackets.

Competing for this year’s Bronze Baby are the top-seeded Regina Cougars (West Regional champions), No. 2 UBC Thunderbirds (Canada West champs), No. 3 Ottawa Gee-Gees (OUA champs), No. 4 Windsor (East Regional champs), No. 5 Acadia Axewomen (AUS champs), No. 6 Saskatchewan Huskies (wild card), No. 7 McGill Martlets (RSEQ champs) and No. 8 Calgary Dinos (host).

The Lancers open their title defence against Acadia Saturday at 5 p.m. MT in the third quarter-final. Other first-round match-ups include UBC vs. McGill at noon, Ottawa vs. Saskatchewan at 2 p.m., and Regina vs. Calgary in the nightcap at 7 p.m.
How things have changed in 12 months.

A year ago, as the new regional qualifying tournaments were introduced, Saskatchewan found itself the only Canada West team in Windsor trying to extend the conference’s supremacy. The Huskies came close, reaching the national final for the first time in program history, but in the end settled for silver following a 63-49 loss to the host Lancers.

It is a different story this time around. Despite losses at their conference Final Four and at the West Regional, the Huskies are back at the CIS Final 8 after receiving the coveted wild card entry, and this time they will be one of four teams vying to put Canada West back on top.

One thing is for sure. Regardless of which conference they represent, the champions who will be crowned on Monday night will have to beat one of the strongest fields in history in order to hoist the Bronze Baby.

“I think this will be one of the most competitive national tournaments in recent memory, with no clear-cut favourite to win it all,” says Regina sideline boss Dave Taylor, who heads a program that claimed its lone CIS banner in 2001. “We’re hoping to go in and continue to play the way that has got us to this point.”

“This year’s tournament will be highly competitive with several teams having the ability to win it all,” adds Saskatchewan’s Lisa Thomaidis.

McGill’s Ryan Thorne agrees.

“We start out against a tough Canada West opponent in UBC, but I truly believe that there are no “Goliaths” at this tournament,” says Thorne, whose team will be one of four looking for a first national title in Calgary. “We, like everyone else, will be there to win a national championship and I believe that we will all need to be at our best to accomplish that goal.”

Ottawa’s Andy Sparks is also confident heading into the weekend.

“Regina and UBC are well deserved of their 1-2 seeding, but we are playing well and I think playing in the regional tournament last week was good for us in terms of preparation. Our depth level is high and that can be a factor in a three-day tournament.”

Regina was ranked first in the country all season but saw its 23-game winning streak snapped with a 78-59 loss to UBC in the Canada West final. The Cougars, who led the nation in scoring in conference play (84.2 ppg), rebounded nicely at the West Regional and earned their berth for the CIS tournament thanks to wins over Concordia and Brock. They are 3-0 this year against first-round opponent Calgary.

UBC avenged a 77-66 regular season loss to Regina with the victory in the conference title match. The T-Birds are red hot going into the Final 8 having won 15 of 16 games since the Christmas break, including their last seven.

“We are excited to represent UBC and the Canada West conference and be back at the CIS national championship for the first time in four years,” says 17-year head coach Deb Huband, who has guided her program to national titles in 2004, 2006 and 2008. “We have been preparing since the off-season for the right and opportunity to go against Canada’s best in pursuit of the Bronze Baby. The opportunity to compete at Nationals is something that we respect, cherish and very much look forward to. We were thrilled to win the Canada West title and earn a high seed into the Final Eight.”

Ottawa sent a message to the rest of the country early in the season, on Nov. 18, upsetting defending CIS champion Windsor 74-58 in its third conference game. The Gee-Gees, the top defensive team in the nation in 2011-12 (51.0 ppg), sent an even louder message two weeks ago in the OUA final with a shocking 89-40 domination of the Lancers. The rivals met again last weekend in the final of the East Regional, with Windsor prevailing 58-55 in a game of little significance as both teams had already punched their tickets to Calgary.

“Saskatchewan is a well-coached team and we expect them to be well prepared. They’ll come with a solid defensive game plan and we’ll just have to be able to execute against them,” says Sparks, who has led the Gee-Gees to three Final 8 appearances in his four seasons at the helm and now hopes to see his troops advance past the first round at the Nationals for the first time in team history.

Like Regina in Canada West, Windsor rebounded well following its loss in the OUA championship game with victories over Cape Breton and Ottawa at the East Regional. The Lancers are still a formidable team led by forward Jessica Clemençon, last season’s CIS player of the year, and guard Miah-Marie Langlois, the MVP of the 2011 CIS tournament.

“We are thrilled to make our fourth straight national tournament appearance,” says head coach Chantal Vallée. “It is a privilege every year to get a chance to compete amongst the best for the Bronze Baby. I am proud of my team and we can’t wait to start our first game. We have been waiting for this all year and we are ready.”

Windsor’s first-round opponent on Saturday, Acadia, is one of the feel-good stories of the season. After finishing first in the Atlantic conference with a stellar 17-3 record, the Axewomen claimed their first-ever AUS banner with an 82-72 win over Cape Breton and are now set to make their CIS championship debut. Acadia also proved it could have success outside of its conference over the last few months with two wins in three match-ups against No. 3 Ottawa.

“This has been an historic season for our program. This group of players feels privileged to have been able to capture the conference title, as a means to honour the many other young women who have played a part in building toward this achievement,” says Bev Greenlaw, in his fourth campaign at the helm. “This bunch has worked hard to earn this. They agreed at the beginning of this season upon some specific, very challenging goals for themselves and have worked daily to build a team that could muster a championship-calibre effort.”

Saskatchewan was hit hard by graduation following its appearance in last year’s CIS final as the game marked the end of the university careers of four fifth-year starters. The Huskies still managed to go 24-8 overall against CIS competition this season and have been ranked no lower than sixth all year in the national Top 10.

“We are extremely grateful and excited for the opportunity to compete in the Final 8 again this season,” Thomaidis says. “Gaining the at-large berth and competing at Nationals for our fifth year in a row is a huge accomplishment for our young team.”

McGill hasn’t competed for the Bronze Baby since 1996, when the Martlets edged Western in overtime in the bronze medal match for their best result at the CIS tourney. The RSEQ champs put together a pair of solid defensive performances to claim their first Quebec banner in 15 years, defeating UQAM 63-56 in a semifinal and Concordia 56-49 in the title game.

“I think it is an honour to represent the RSEQ at the national championship, and one that our team has earned,” says Thorne.

Calgary also returns to the Final 8 after a long hiatus. The host Dinos, who captured their lone Bronze Baby back in 1989, last played at the Nationals in 2001, when they won the bronze medal.

“We’re excited to welcome the best teams in the country to the University of Calgary – it doesn’t get any better than this! Our organizing committee has been hard at work, and we look forward to making this event one of the best championships ever,” says Shawnee Harle, the longest-serving head coach at this week’s tournament with 18 seasons on the Dino sidelines.

“Our team is thrilled with the opportunity in front of them, and they’re ready to leave everything on the floor.”

PARTICIPATING TEAMS

No. 1 Regina Cougars

Media Guide (PDF)

Head Coach: Dave Taylor (6th season)
Regular season record: 20-0
Regular season standing: 1st Canada West Prairie
Playoff record: 5-1
Playoff finish: Canada West finalists / Western Regional champions
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 35-2
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 8-1 (1-1 UBC, 2-0 Sask, 1-0 Windsor, 1-0 McGill, 3-0 Calgary)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 28): No. 1
Top 10 best ranking: No. 1 (all 14 polls)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (14 polls): 14
Conference award winners: Joanna Zalesiak (MVP), Dave Taylor (coach)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Joanna Zalesiak (G)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Lindsay Ledingham (F)
Conference all-rookie team: No all-rookie team in CW
Team leader (points per game): Michelle Clark (15.0)
Team leader (rebounds per game): Lindsay Ledingham (7.6)
Team leader (assists per game): Joanna Zalesiak (5.8)
CIS championship appearances (including 2012): 16th
CIS championship all-time record (including 2012 Regionals): 24-20 (.545)
CIS championship best result: 1-time champions (2001)
CIS championship all-time medals: 6 (1-4-1)
CIS championship last appearance: 2011 (lost in West Regional final)
CIS championship sequence: 5th consecutive appearance (including 2011 West Regional)

No. 2 UBC Thunderbirds

Media Guide (PDF)

Head Coach: Deb Huband (17th season)
Regular season record: 15-3
Regular season standing: 1st Canada West Pacific
Playoff record: 4-0
Playoff finish: Canada West champions
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 24-3
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 3-2 (1-1 Regina, 2-0 Sask, 0-1 Calgary)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 28): No. 4
Top 10 best ranking: No. 2 (1 week: Nov. 22)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (14 polls): 14
Conference award winners: None
Conference 1st team all-stars: Zara Huntley (P)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Kris Young (G)
Conference all-rookie team: No all-rookie team in CW
Team leader (points per game): Kris Young (15.3)
Team leader (rebounds per game): Zara Huntley (7.0)
Team leader (assists per game): Kris Young (4.6)
CIS championship appearances (including 2012): 10th
CIS championship all-time record: 16-5 (.762)
CIS championship best result: 6-time champions (2008, 2006, 2004, 1974, 1973, 1972)
CIS championship all-time medals: 7 (6-1-0)
CIS championship last appearance: 2008 (champions)
CIS championship sequence: Return after 3-year absence

No. 3 Ottawa Gee-Gees

Media Guide (PDF)

Head Coach: Andy Sparks (4th season)
Regular season record: 19-3
Regular season standing: 1st OUA East
Playoff record: 4-1
Playoff finish: OUA champions / East Regional finalists
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 29-6
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 4-3 (2-1 Windsor, 1-2 Acadia, 1-0 McGill)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 28): No. 6
Top 10 best ranking: No. 5 (1 week: Jan. 31)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (14 polls): 11
Conference award winners (OUA East): Hannah Sunley-Paisley (MVP), Bess Lennox (defensive MVP & student-athlete award), Kellie Ring (rookie), Andy Sparks (coach)
Conference 1st team all-stars (OUA East): Hannah Sunley-Paisley (P)
Conference 2nd team all-stars (OUA East): Bess Lennox (F), Jenna Gilbert (F)
Conference all-rookie team (OUA East): Kellie Ring (G), Maddie Stephen (F)
Team leader (points per game): Hannah Sunley-Paisley (18.5)
Team leader (rebounds per game): Bess Lennox (9.9)
Team leader (assists per game): Kellie Ring (4.8)
CIS championship appearances (including 2012): 5th
CIS championship all-time record (including 2012 Regionals): 4-8 (.333)
CIS championship best result: 5th place (2005)
CIS championship all-time medals: 0
CIS championship last appearance: 2010 (7th place)
CIS championship sequence: Return after 1-year absence (3rd appearance in 4 years)

No. 4 Windsor Lancers

Media Guide (PDF)

Head Coach: Chantal Vallée (7th season)
Regular season record: 20-2
Regular season standing: 1st OUA West
Playoff record: 4-1
Playoff finish: OUA finalists / East Regional champions
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 32-4
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 3-3 (0-1 Regina, 1-2 Ottawa, 1-0 Sask, 1-0 Calgary)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 28): No. 2
Top 10 best ranking: No. 2 (12 weeks, including last 9)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (14 polls): 14
Conference award winners (OUA West): Jessica Clemençon (MVP), Miah-Marie Langlois (defensive MVP), Laura Mullins (Tracy McLeod Award nominee), Chantal Vallée (coach)
Conference 1st team all-stars (OUA West): Jessica Clemençon (F), Miah-Marie Langlois (G)
Conference 2nd team all-stars (OUA West): Bojana Kovacevic (G)
Conference all-rookie team (OUA West): None
Team leader (points per game): Jessica Clemençon (17.6)
Team leader (rebounds per game): Iva Peklova (7.5)
Team leader (assists per game): Miah-Marie Langlois (4.9)
CIS championship appearances (including 2012): 4th
CIS championship all-time record (including 2012 Regionals): 8-3 (.727)
CIS championship best result: 1-time champions (2011)
CIS championship all-time medals: 2 (1-1-0)
CIS championship last appearance: 2011 (champions)
CIS championship sequence: 4th consecutive appearance

No. 5 Acadia Axewomen

Media Guide (PDF)

Head Coach: Bev Greenlaw (4th season)
Regular season record: 17-3
Regular season standing: 1st AUS
Playoff record: 2-0
Playoff finish: AUS champions
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 26-5
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 2-2 (2-1 Ottawa, 0-1 Sask)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 28): No. 7
Top 10 best ranking: No. 7 (7 weeks, including last 5)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (14 polls): 14
Conference award winners: Bev Greenlaw (coach)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Emma Duinker (G/F)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Stefanie Chapman (G)
Conference all-rookie team: None
Team leader (points per game): Emma Duinker (16.6)
Team leader (rebounds per game): Emma Duinker (7.6)
Team leader (assists per game): Stefanie Chapman (4.3)
CIS championship appearances (including 2012): 1st
CIS championship all-time record: 0-0
CIS championship best result: First appearance
CIS championship all-time medals: 0
CIS championship last appearance: First appearance
CIS championship sequence: First appearance

No. 6 Saskatchewan Huskies

Media Guide (PDF)

Head Coach: Lisa Thomaidis (14th season)
Regular season record: 15-5
Regular season standing: 2nd Canada West Prairie
Playoff record: 3-2
Playoff finish: Canada West semi-finalists / West Regional semi-finalists
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 24-8
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 4-5 (0-2 Regina, 0-2 UBC, 0-1 Windsor, 1-0 Acadia, 3-0 Calgary)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 28): No. 3
Top 10 best ranking: No: 3 (4 weeks: last 4 polls)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (14 polls): 14
Conference award winners: Katie Miyazaki (defensive MVP), Dalyce Emmerson (rookie)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Katie Miyazaki (G)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Dalyce Emmerson (F)
Conference all-rookie team: No all-rookie team in CW
Team leader (points per game): Katie Miyazaki (15.2)
Team leader (rebounds per game): Dalyce Emmerson (10.5)
Team leader (assists per game): Katie Miyazaki (4.2)
CIS championship appearances (including 2012): 6th
CIS championship all-time record (including 2012 Regionals): 7-9 (.438)
CIS championship best result: Finalists (2011)
CIS championship all-time medals: 2 (0-1-1)
CIS championship last appearance: 2011 (finalists)
CIS championship sequence: 5th straight appearance

No. 7 McGill Martlets

Media Guide (PDF)

Head Coach: Ryan Thorne (9th season)
Regular season record: 11-5
Regular season standing: 1st RSEQ
Playoff record: 2-0
Playoff finish: RSEQ champions
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 17-11
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 0-2 (0-1 Regina, 0-1 Ottawa)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 28): Unranked
Top 10 best ranking: Unranked all season
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (14 polls): 0
Conference award winners: Dianna Ros (rookie), Ryan Thorne (coach)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Anneth Him-Lazarenko (P), Françoise Charest (G)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Marie-Ève Martin (G)
Conference all-rookie team: Diana Ros (G)
Team leader (points per game): Anneth Him-Lazarenko (12.2)
Team leader (rebounds per game): Anneth Him-Lazarenko (6.5)
Team leader (assists per game): Françoise Charest (2.4)
CIS championship appearances (including 2012): 7th
CIS championship all-time record: 5-10 (.333)
CIS championship best result: Bronze (1996)
CIS championship all-time medals: 1 (0-0-1)
CIS championship last appearance: 1996 (bronze)
CIS championship sequence: Return after 15-year absence

No. 8 Calgary Dinos

Media Guide (PDF)

Head Coach: Shawnee Harle (18th season)
Regular season record: 14-6
Regular season standing: 3rd Canada West Prairie
Playoff record: 0-2
Playoff finish: Canada West quarter-finalists
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 18-13
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 1-7 (0-3 Regina, 1-0 UBC, 0-1 Windsor, 0-3 Sask)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 28): Unranked
Top 10 best ranking: No. 9 (1week: Feb. 7)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (14 polls): 4
Conference award winners: None
Conference 1st team all-stars: Jenna Kaye (PG)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: None
Conference all-rookie team: No all-rookie team in CW
Team leader (points per game): Jenna Kaye (14.6)
Team leader (rebounds per game): Jessica Franz (7.2)
Team leader (assists per game): Jenna Kaye (5.4)
CIS championship appearances (including 2012): 13th
CIS championship all-time record: 17-15 (.531)
CIS championship best result: 1-time champions (1989)
CIS championship all-time medals: 8 (1-3-4)
CIS championship last appearance: 2001 (bronze)
CIS championship sequence: Return after 10-year absence

CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (all times MOUNTAIN TIME)

NOTE: Live webcast of all games on SSN Canada (ssncanada.ca). Semifinals will be broadcast live on Shaw TV and NBA TV Canada, and the final will be broadcast live on Shaw TV and on a two-hour tape delay on NBA TV Canada.

Friday, March 16 (1-hour practices at Jack Simpson Gym)
8:00 to 15:00 Visiting teams (order TBD)
15:00 Calgary
18:00 All Canadian Gala (Sheraton Suites Eau Claire)

Saturday, March 17
12:00 Quarter-final #1: No. 7 McGill vs. No. 2 UBC
14:00 Quarter-final #2: No. 6 Saskatchewan vs. No. 3 Ottawa
17:00 Quarter-final #3: No. 5 Acadia vs. No. 4 Windsor
19:00 Quarter-final #4: No. 8 Calgary vs. No. 1 Regina

Sunday, March 18
12:00 Consolation #1: Loser QF #1 vs. Loser QF #2
14:00 Consolation #2: Loser QF #3 vs. Loser QF #4
17:00 Semifinal #1: Winner QF #1 vs. Winner QF #2
19:00 Semifinal #2: Winner QF #3 vs. Winner QF #4

Monday, March 19
13:00 5th place
15:00 Bronze medal
19:00 Championship final

-CIS-

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